How The Post and Courier covered a deadly explosion of prison violence


In a recent column, Jennifer Hawes, Stephen Hobbs and Glenn Smith of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, described the work that went into reporting the story of one of the deadliest explosions of U.S. prison violence. The report pulled largely from descriptions of that night from dozens of inmates, prison staff and emergency responders who were there.

They cited the thousands of pages of documents received through open records requests, public archives and other sources, as well as interviews with more than 150 state officials, experts, attorneys, current and former corrections officers and inmates.

In their column, they noted: "Because state officials only allow journalists face-to-face access to inmates during organized tours, the reporting team wrote letters to more than 400 current and former inmates, mostly men housed at Lee during the killing spree. Among them were most of the more than 50 men under criminal investigation, or who had been at one time, for the homicides."

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